(Pi Patel), the son of a mathematician, until recently has lived all his life in
the middle-class suburbs of South Delhi with his parents. With no previous
acting experience, Ang Lee cast Suraj for the role of Pi following an extensive,
months-long search throughout India.
As a young boy, Suraj displayed a strong ability in music and trained in
Hindustani vocal and tabla, as well as the keyboard and guitar. Seeking neither
admiration nor accolades, he sang, drummed, and played the guitar for fun and to
entertain his South Delhi neighborhood friends and classmates.
Suraj trained in karate under the tutelage of Senpai Khurshid Alam, acquiring a
Junior Black Belt in the Seido Karate School by the age of 13. He excelled in
katha - the dance-like movements used for rehearsing karate moves - and earned
accolades performing Kalaripayattu, an Indian martial art and one of the oldest
fighting systems in existence. He's an avid soccer player, participating in
sport all throughout his school years. In addition to his love of sports, Suraj
has a strong aesthetic sense, often advising family and friends on matters of
style and design.
Extremely popular among his schoolmates, Suraj actively campaigned for his
friends who were seeking school executive office. While known among his peers
for his happy-go-lucky attitude, his enthusiasm and his readiness to play the
clown and to entertain, Suraj is also a gentle and emotional young man.
Suraj, who was 17 years old during much of LIFE OF PI's production, actually
found himself celebrating his 18th birthday with the film's crew in the midst of
shooting LIFE OF PI's lifeboat scenes in the massive outdoor wave tank built in
Taiwan for the movie. As far as future plans, Suraj is entering his freshman
year at Delhi University's St. Stephen's College.